“There’s rosemary that’s for remembrance. Pray, you love, remember.” ~ Hamlet

Rosemary is one of my favorite herbs, mostly just because. I rarely cook with it, but love its scent and the wealth of history behind it. Known as the herb of remembrance from the time of ancient Greece, it appears in that immoral verse by Shakespeare.  My fascination with herbs plays a significant role in my historical/light paranormal romance Somewhere My Love, as does Hamlet, for that matter.  I always wanted to write a murder mystery with a focus on herbs and parallels to a Shakespearean play, and so I did.

A Modern Herbal by Maud Grieve, a wonderful source of herbal lore as well as practical information on the medicinal uses and growing requirements for a myriad of plants, is an invaluable guide. I have volumes one and two of Ms. Grieve’s work and can easily lose myself in their pages.  She refers to her herbal as modern, and in comparison to the ancient herbalists it is, but A Modern Herbal is charmingly quaint and published in the early 20th century.
Available at Amazon

Regarding Rosemary, she says,
"The Ancients were well acquainted with the shrub, which had a reputation for strengthening the memory. On this account it became the emblem of fidelity for lovers. It holds a special position among herbs from the symbolism attached to it. Not only was it used at weddings, but also at funerals, for decking churches and banqueting halls at festivals, as incense in religious ceremonies, and in magical spells.

At weddings, it was entwined in the wreath worn by the bride, being first dipped into scented water. Anne of Cleves, we are told, wore such a wreath at her wedding. A Rosemary branch, richly gilded and tied with silken ribands of all colours, was also presented to wedding guests, as a symbol of love and loyalty. Together with an orange stuck with cloves it was given as a New Year’s gift…

In early times, Rosemary was freely cultivated in kitchen gardens and came to represent the dominant influence of the house mistress ‘Where Rosemary flourished, the woman ruled.’

The Treasury of Botany says:
‘There is a vulgar belief in Gloucestershire and other counties, that Rosemary will not grow well unless where the mistress is “master”; and so touchy are some of the lords of creation upon this point, that we have more than once had reason to suspect them of privately injuring a growing rosemary in order to destroy this evidence of their want of authority.’

Rosemary was one of the cordial herbs used to flavour ale and wine. It was also used in Christmas decoration.
“Down with the rosemary and so,
Down with the baies and mistletoe,
Down with the holly, ivie all
Wherewith ye deck the Christmas Hall.”

Rosemary Christmas Trees
Although an herb, rosemary is often shaped into lovely miniature Christmas trees. The plant is well suited for this purpose as its essential oils produce a scent similar to pine trees and it has a natural evergreen shape and needle-like leaves.

If you purchase a rosemary plant whether as a Christmas tree or for your indoor herb garden, remember it needs good light and moderate watering. Allow the soil to dry before re-watering to avoid root rot. The most common cause of death for potted rosemary is over watering. In spring transfer your rosemary to a clay pot. The clay will help wick excess water out of the soil. Fertilize monthly to maintain health. To this advice I add that you can also kill them by allowing the plant to dry out, so don’t do that either.

Because rosemary is native to the hot, dry hills of the Mediterranean, growing it indoors can be a problem. You may find you get more dense vigorous growth if it is kept outside during most of the year. Trim the plant periodically to preserve the Christmas tree shape.

Somewhere My Love is also available at Amazon and many online stores including the Wild Rose Press.

I made this for my family for Thanksgiving and got rave reviews!


Prep. Time 15 minutes plus refrigeration . serves 10

1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. caramel ice cream topping (divided)
1 graham pie crust (16 oz)
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp. chopped pecans (divided)
2 pkg 13.4 oz Jello Vanilla instant pudding (can substitute 1 butterscotch)
1 cup cold milk
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tub 8 oz. Cool Whip topping (thawed; divided)

POUR 1/4 cup caramel topping into crust; sprinkle 1/2 cup nuts
BEAT pudding mixes, milk, pumpkin and spices with whisk until blended. Stir in 1-1/2 cups Cool Whip; spoon into crust
REFIGERATE 1 hour. Top with remaining Cool Whip; 2 Tbsp. caramel topping and nuts just before serving

Every writer has a dream, but bringing it into the realm of reality is the hard part.

I haven't always known that I wanted to be a writer. That dream didn't speak inside me until a few years ago. Reading was my first love. I've enjoyed the wonder of books since...well, before I was born. At least I did according to my mother. She is an avid reader of true story magazines and often read out loud to me while I lay nestled in her stomach. She even told me that whenever she changed the inflection of her voice, I'd kick as if I'd gotten excited about something. While I think I was probably responding to her voice rather than the story, the sentiment is touching.

I jumped into writing with full force. After I started on a story, I joined a critique group. I went to the first meeting expecting to hear that my story was wonderful, better than a Nora Roberts novel. Boy, did I get a reality check that day. Instead of hearing tons of praises, I learned I had a fatal attraction to adjectives and was seriously comma challenged.

While my heart was broken, I was also excited. This wasn't the end but the beginning. I could work with constructive feedback. It was something that would move me closer to making my dream a reality. So I hung in there through all the rejections until I made my first sale. Ironically, it was to True Story magazine. Go figure. Next I sold a story to Wild Rose Press, which is due out soon.

I'm grateful for those two sales. They justify the small still voice that lives inside me. YOU CAN DO IT, it says every time my dream wavers like a mirage. So no matter what anyone says, never, never, never let go of your dream. And remember the fear of rejection is temporary, but the feeling you get from seeing your name in print lasts forever.

What started you on the road to publication? Post a comment and share.

The day after Thanksgiving I open my refrigerator and a platter of turkey still fills the top shelf. There’s too much. My DH and I could eat turkey for a week and still have turkey leftovers. How could this be? The kids all went home with their share yet still there is so much. What to do?

Looking ahead, the months are going to be much colder. The northwest wind will rattle the window panes, leaving behind lacey fingerprints. My Irish Setter will wear a white muzzle most of the time because he’ll constantly dig in the snow, sniffing out a field mouse or chipmunk. My DH’s cheeks will rival Santa Claus’ complexion after an hour of plowing. Yes, the months of ahead are perfect for hearty soups that will warm the body and spirit. So today I will take some of that turkey and cut it up into bite size pieces and freeze it.

Do you have a favorite turkey leftover recipe to share? Here is one of my favorite.

1 cup chopped celery
1 cup peeled and sliced carrots
4 medium potatoes peeled and diced
1 cup of frozen peas
2 to 3 cups of diced turkey
32 oz of chicken/turkey broth ( I freeze left over broth too)
One bag of potpie noodles. I love making my own potpie but in a pinch I use commercial made.

Add two tablespoons of oil to warm stock pot. Add celery, carrots and potatoes, stir constantly for about three minutes. Add turkey and frozen peas and parsley. Stir for another minute or so. Add broth and three cups of water. Bring mixture to a boil. Add potpie. Salt and pepper to taste. Cook until potpie is soft but not mushy. Let stand for a few about three minutes and serve with thick slices of toasted bread. YUM.

I hope you enjoy.


A Day with The FBI

Posted by Scarlet Pumpernickel | 11:06 PM | , , , , | 6 comments »

This summer I had the pleasure of spending a day with the FBI at Quantico. It was easily one of the most exciting things I have ever done. You see, I write romantic suspense and this was right up my alley! We were allowed to go to the firing range and the agents showed us how to shoot. That's right we were allowed to shoot real guns. What type guns you ask? What kind of guns do you think they hauled out for a bunch of romance writers? Nope, your wrong, they knew we were serious about our work and they were proud to show off theirs. We were instructed on the proper way to shoot a Glock, a shotgun, a Tommy Gun and a modern machine gun the numbers of which escapes me at the moment. Holding an actual Tommy Gun and being allowed to shoot it was a thrill! The agent brought these guns out of retirement just so we could shoot them. For a moment I could feel Elliot Ness standing beside me as I held the gun and fired it toward the target. How was I able to experience this amazing day? It was easy, I'm a member of KOD, that's Kiss of Death, RWA's Mystery and Suspense Online chapter and this was a part of their pre-conference tour at RWA National this year! Did you go? Are you a member of KOD? If you aren't gosh, just look what your missing! If you were there, please comment to tell us what you enjoyed most about the pre-conference tour! If you'd like more info on KOD click on the title above, it has a link!

Please read the post below about Harlequin's newest plans. Patrice Wilton would love your comments.

Then look below for a wonderful Thanksgiving post by Mona Risk.


Posted by Patrice Wilton | 10:57 AM | , , , | 15 comments »

Good morning readers and writers,
As almost everyone knows, Harlequin has once again rocked the publishing industry. Only this time not in a good way. For those who have been buried under a rock, the nitty-gritty is that Harlequin has launched a vanity press, named Harlequin Horizons, which gives new writers false hope and expectations. The author has to pay up front and from what I have heard the amount is substantial, and must split the profits, if there are any, 50/50. This is unheard of in self- publishing. As if that news in not unsettling enough, RWA took a very aggressive stance by declaring Harlequin and all its imprints to be no longer a recognized publisher. This of course has serious repercussions for all the wonderful authors who write for Harlequin, including Mira and HQN best selling authors.
It's a sad day in the publishing world for everyone concerned. Harlequin has been around for something like 70 years and has built a strong, reputable name in the romance market. Who could even think of a romance novel without thinking of Harlequin? They have now stated that the new vanity press will no longer carry their name, but they might have to distance themselves completely. The fall-out from all this is still yet to be seen.
It is also a pity that this all happened within a week of a new, exciting adventure called Carina Press which is perfectly legit and a very good opportunity for new writers, and for those who wrote something out-side the box and needs a good home. Let this new development with Harlequin not alter the fact that Carina is innocent in all this, and the other imprints, recognized or not, are still known for publishing quality work.
Would love to hear your views.

According to the Internet: Thanksgiving or Thanksgiving Day, presently celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November, has been an annual tradition in the United States since 1863. It did not become a federal holiday until 1941. Thanksgiving was historically a religious observation to give thanks to God, but is now primarily identified as a secular holiday.

The First Thanksgiving was celebrated to give thanks to God for helping the pilgrims survive the brutal winter. The first Thanksgiving feast lasted three days providing enough food for 53 pilgrims and 90 Indians.

The traditional Thanksgiving menu often features turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie. Americans may eat these foods on modern day Thanksgiving, but the first feast did not consist of these items.

On the first feast turkey was any type of fowl that the pilgrims hunted.

Pumpkin pie wasn't on the menu because there were no ovens for baking, but they did have boiled pumpkin.

Cranberries weren't introduced at this time.

Due to the diminishing supply of flour there was no bread of any kind.

The foods included in the first feast included duck, geese, venison, fish, lobster, clams, swan, berries, dried fruit, pumpkin, squash, and many more vegetables.

The National Turkey Federation estimated that 46 million turkeys—one fifth of the annual total of 235 million consumed in the United States in 2007—were eaten at Thanksgiving.

The cranberry is one of only three fruits—the others are the blueberry and the Concord grape—that are entirely native to North American soil, according to the Cape Cod Cranberry Growers' Association.

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the largest pumpkin pie ever baked weighed 2,020 pounds and measured just over 12 feet long.

Many people we know had a bad year, lost their job or had to sell their home. Like the colonists, let's look to the future and give thanks.

Here is a lovely prayer I found:

Oh God,
When I have food, help me remember the hungry;
When I have work, help me remember the jobless;
When I have a warm home, help me remember the homeless;
When I am without pain, help remember those who suffer.
Make me concern enough to help, by word and deed those who cry out for what we take for granted.

On Thanksgiving Day, we count our blessings.

I am grateful to be healthy and have wonderful friends at the PFS.
I am grateful to be able to vist with my son and his family.
I am grateful that my mother who has been so sick all year is still around to share the holidays with her family.
I am grateful that my son-in-law and daughter-in-law finally found jobs.
I am grateful for my husband's love and support.
And I am so grateful to have four books published and enjoying great reviews.

And I want to share my joy at just discovering that Prescription For Trust is in stock at amazon.com. Yeah!!!!

What are you grateful for? Share with us.

Has a year really passed since last Thanksgiving? According to the calendar and the media it has. Halloween was only yesterday, or so it seems. Walk into any retail store and you'll think it's Christmas. Actually for many of us it might as well be. According to tradition I should drag out my Christmas tree on Thanksgiving or at least the weekend after that. Well, guess what? I didn't dismantle mine. I removed the decorations and shoved the tree in a corner.

Let's talk tradition. Got your turkey for Thanksgiving or does your family prefer ham?
Will you pull out strings of lights and test them, replacing the burned out bulbs? Will you go wild and decorate your house inside and out? Will you start addressing your Christmas cards to mail out while your still eating Thanksgiving left overs?

Since my parents are gone and my brother and sister and have married kids, we spend fewer holidays with our kids. We once divided our holiday time between our families and the in-laws. Now our kids have in-laws.

We'll share our kids again with their in-laws and their little families.

Will you give parties or meet friends for parties? Will you attend plays or be part of Christmas programs?

Tell us about the traditions you miss and the ones you are starting.

I decided to post this blog this week because next week, with the holiday we all will be too busy to sit and read. Also, I’d like to reach as many friends and friends of friends before they head out the door and become victims.

Holiday shopping is dangerous. Humming classic tunes, we head to the stores with visions of the perfect Norman Rockwell holiday fogging our minds. The malls are busier than any other time of the year, and as we juggle packages while seeking the next ideal gift for little Bobby or Susie, predators lurk near. Your purse or wallet is his target. The packages you carry are his prey. You are about to become his victim, IF you don’t do something to protect yourself from the holiday nightmare.

1) Keep a list of your credit card numbers and contact phone numbers at home.
2) Dress comfortably.
3) Do not wear expensive jewelry.
4) Never go shopping by yourself. If you do, walk with other shoppers to and from the store or ask a security guard to walk you to your vehicle.
5) Avoid shopping at night if at all possible.
6) If you can’t park near an entrance, consider parking near the roadway entering the store. Thieves do not like to have an audience when committing their crime. Also search out well lit areas. Familiarize yourself with the area you’ve parked.
7) Strip your car. Put all CD, sunglasses, loose change anything of any value out of view.
8) Hide your GPS and garage door opener from view, or better yet leave them at home. A thief can easily break a window take these items and wait to follow you home. Only to rob you later.
9) Do not use your keychain control to lock your doors. Techno savvy thieves could pick up on the frequency and unlock your car.
10) Avoid revolving doors. Predators can grab your purse as entering and make a clean get-a-way before you can emerge.
11) Men carry your wallets in your front pocket and woman carry your purse close to your body with the flap turned toward you. When walking with someone, carry the purse between you. Consider using a fanny pack. Only carry the necessary cash and or one credit card. Leave check book and other credit cards at home.
12) Do not flash large amounts of cash.
13) Watch while your credit card is receipt is filled out and that your credit card is only swiped once. Also request any carbons. Keep receipts in your pocket, not in your bags. Make sure you get your credit card back.
14) Never lay your purchases down.
15) Avoid using restrooms where there are long, dim, hallways.
16) Do not use arcades or video stores as babysitters for children of any age. Predators are waiting.
17) Make regular trips to your car so that you’re not over burden.
18) Save your most expensive purchases for last. Go straight home. Do not stop afterwards for lunch or dinner.
19) Do not carry big packages that obstruct your view.
20) Have your keys in your hand when exiting the store. Walk with authority. Check backseat and under car. Lock door immediately.
21) Be aware of approaching strangers. Con artists may try various methods to distract you.
22) Stow your purchases in the trunk. Never in the backseat. Remember a thief doesn’t care if you have to replace your car window.
23) If you see what looks to be a parking ticket under your wiper, ignore it and pull away. Check it at another location.
24) Never go home if you think you’re being followed. Go to a busy, well-lit safe place.
25) Even though you have a zillion things on your mind, stay alert, don’t be the easy target and have a wonderful holiday.

If you have another tip or experience relating to a scary experience, please share. Also everyone commenting will be entered into a drawing for a 2010 pocket calendar. This post, I’m picking two winners.

Rx For Trust is the first medical romance in the Doctor’s Order series and will be released by The Wild Rose Press on December 4, 2009. The story’s theme revolves around a famous saying by Walter Scott: “Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.” Walter Scott.

Contest Awards: First Place in Central Ohio Ignite the Flame; Second Place in Heart of Denver, The Molly; Third Place in FTHRW Golden Gateway.

Short Synopsis:
Olivia Crane is a psychiatrist at Cincinnati University Hospital. She is also a woman with a troubled past and secrets by the bucket-load. Dr. Luc George, the French psychiatrist, she loved ten years ago, detests secrets. All hell breaks loose when Luc strolls into her office, with a confident smile and a perceptive eye, determined to rekindle their relationship and threatening to unravel the secrets of her thorny past. Can Luc win Olivia’s trust and love before her inner fears destroy their second chance at happiness?


Fine.” Luc raised both hands in a conciliatory gesture. “But I am stunned by this situation. Help me understand you. We dated for a year. I loved you. Why did you not trust me?”

Loved. He used the past tense. Even if his love had survived for ten years, she’d killed it with her confession. The sadness underlying his question went straight to her heart. She dropped back into her chair, rubbing her forehead to lessen the tension.

Why did he have to linger over the painful past?

Luc touched her hand and enfolded it in his large one. “Olivia, you are a psychiatrist. You know you can’t bury your past forever. Not when you have a teenage daughter. At some point, you will have to deal with it. Can you please tell me why you hid your daughter from me?”

“Why can’t you understand?” She snatched her hand from his and exhaled, wishing she had a magic formula to erase her bitter past. “When I was a student, I was still hiding her from everybody at med school.” Resting her head against the back of the chair, she closed her eyes. “I told you I was terrified for her safety. Melissa is unfortunately the mirror image of her father. I was afraid that he’d find out he has a daughter and hurt us both.”

“Did he ever threaten you?”

Olivia blinked and struggled to suppress her bitterness. Threaten was putting it mildly. “He told me to ‘get rid of it’ when I said I was pregnant. And he got upset when I protested.”

“How upset?” Luc punched the palm of his left hand with his fist.

Feeling her control slipping under his scrutiny, she turned her head.

“Did he hit you?”

She didn’t answer. But he must have read the humiliating truth in her eyes.

“Mon Dieu. I wish I had known. I would have killed this monster. Is that the reason you turned away from me?”

She bit her lip, loathe to tell him how much she’d cried after he left. “Listen, we dated on and off during that year, but you were going back to France, and I wanted to concentrate on my career. Why would we start a long-distance relationship? Besides, I couldn’t trust anyone. Any man after...” Shaking her head, she averted her gaze. Luc was far too perceptive. “I was too frightened.”

“And you still are. You sacrificed a lot because of your inner fear. Don’t you think you need help, Dr. Crane? You need to learn to trust people again.”

“I’m fine now. When Melissa started high school, I introduced her to my boss and colleagues. I’m very proud of her.” She stood to signify the end of this conversation that had drained her.

Damn it. She didn’t need a shrink. After sampling his kisses last night, she roused to a surprising reality. She wanted him again. She wanted her French lover who lavished her with pleasure and tenderness during steamy nights.

His eyes narrowed, Luc crossed his arms over his chest. “But you still have not told your daughter the truth.” The archetypal psychiatrist, he followed the same line of questions.

Irritation flickered through her, and she struggled not to shout at him. “That’s not your problem.” The minute she’d confided in him, he tried to impose his views. “You see why I couldn’t tell you my secret? I didn’t want anyone interfering and destroying my daughter’s peace of mind.”

Rx For Trust is based on the true story of a friend paralyzed by fear for most of her life. To protect her child, an abused woman distorted the truth and buried it as deep as possible. With great effort, she managed to build a successful career for herself and sacrificed love and marriage to create a happy family atmosphere for her child. Life is good in spite—or maybe because—of the few lies that embellish the painful past and ugly truth. But what if the bubble bursts open and …

Far from being a dark story, Rx FOR TRUST is a sweet and spicy medical romance that will make you smile, laugh and cry.

• Do you know women who had the courage to escape domestic violence? Were they able to pick up the pieces and move on with their lives?

I like sweet potatoes, but I don't care for the recipes that make them even sweeter - such as the kind where marshmallows are melted on top, or where they're mashed with brown sugar. Just a matter of taste, obviously... Anyway, if you don't want your sweet potatoes too sweet, this recipe is just great. It can be eaten with turkey at Thanksgiving, or as a separate meal if you use enough sausage. Warning: all quantities are approximate, so adjust them according to taste.

2 or 3 large sweet potatoes

Pork or turkey sausage, anything from a half pound to a pound. I usually use breakfast sausage, but I've heard Italian sausage works well. If I can't find the sausage meat in bulk, I squeeze it out of the casings.

Butter or oil

1 onion,  3 or 4 celery stalks, 1 green and 1 red bell pepper, all diced

Parsley, chopped.

Bread crumbs, the coarse kind used for stuffings and dressings, or you can make your own with fresh or stale bread and add salt, pepper, sage and other herbs to taste.

Bake the sweet potatoes until done. Saute the onions and sausage meat, then add and saute the celery and peppers. Add butter or oil as needed. Peel and mash the sweet potatoes and mix in the meat and vegetables. Add bread crumbs to taste (the more bread crumbs, the drier the dressing). Season to taste. Add a little water if needed, or cover with foil. Bake in a 9x13 pan (or whatever size seems right) at 350 degrees (medium oven) for about half an hour.


I recently read a new release, Mennonite in a Little Black Dress, as refreshingly unique as its title. This memoir first came to my attention when the publicist contacted me about the possibility of reading and reviewing this book after being impressed by my blog (not sure which one. I have several). As it turns out, I was a particularly good candidate and gladly agreed. I married into the Mennonite community a number of years ago and have a vested interest in the warm-hearted people author Rhoda Janzen humorously and touchingly describes. Although raised Presbyterian, I’m a member of the NEW Order Mennonite Church, for better or worse. They’ve been good to me.

*The OLD Order Mennonites are the ones who drive horse and buggies and wear the Laura Ingalls Wilder style clothes, many of whom are our neighbors here in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. But I digress.

Reading in fascination, almost morbidly intrigued at times, I followed Rhonda Janzen through her train-wreck life and marriage to a man who left her for a guy named Bob he met on Gay.com. How much worse can it get, I wondered, ever assured by her witty insights and courage that somehow, someway, she’d make it through. Poetic, beautiful, sometimes bizarre, Mennonite in a Little Black Dress is a journey of self-discovery by a deeply wounded woman with an irrepressible spirit. The very people she’d left behind play a vital role in her healing as she returns to her roots. I cheered her on, alternating laughing my head off and shaking it in utter bemusement, even cringing at some points. I felt for her as I might my own sister and wanted to tell her ‘Stop making excuses for that total loser husband and recognize your own self worth!’ which she eventually does.

As Mennonites are a people who love to cook, noted for their fabulous pot luck dinners, an added feature is the food Rhonda often refers to. Many of the dishes/recipes she mentions are of ethnic Mennonite origin. Some are known to me and some not at all. Here, I pause to mention how impressed I've been by the culinary skills of Mennonite women whose cooking I've been privileged to sample. The recipes Rhonda mentions are of German/Russian origin but in Virginia the Pennsylvania Dutch have also influenced Mennonite cuisine, probably for the better considering how awful some of the dishes she describes sound. I own several Mennonite cookbooks, one put together by the women of our church, a committee headed up by my mother in law, an excellent cook.

Back to Rhonda Janzen and her book, I thoroughly enjoyed Mennonite in a Little Black Dress and look forward to more from this highly talented author.

* Rhoda Janzen holds a PhD from the University of California, Los Angeles, where she was the University of California Poet Laureate in 1994 and 1997. She is the author of Babel’s Stair, a collection of poems, and her poems have also appeared in Poetry, The Yale Review, The Gettysburg Review, and The Southern Review. She teaches English and creative writing at Hope College in Holland, Michigan.

"...Simply put, this the most delightful memoir I've read in ages.” ~ Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love

Carina Press

Posted by Patrice Wilton | 7:23 AM | 17 comments »

Good Morning!
I was going to post on rejections this morning since I had a couple of heart-breakers recently. Heart breaking because they were from major publishing houses who praised my writing, characters, compelling plot, but didn't buy because it straddled the romance/women fiction market. Go figure. Maybe if I changed my name to D. Steel or something it may change my luck.
Whatever. Let's move on to the new subject, one that everyone is interested in.
CARINA PRESS - a new digital only imprint of Harlequin. It's very exciting news which has the industry abuzz, and they have a team of highly experienced editors and marketers that should make for an interesting experience. I don't understand the DRM thing, digital rights management, which they say they don't have, meaning the submitted work would not be protected from piracy, but everyone from famous authors down to nobody's like me, seem to get their books pirated anyway, so I'm not too concerned, and believe that Carina Press will protect the author's work as well as anyone can.
So gang, I have already submitted. It may never get considered, but the book has been sitting around for several years now. It was sold to Tiger Publications but before it went into print, Tiger closed their doors. If you have something that is polished, ready to go, but doesn't have a home somewhere else because it doesn't fit into one of their categories, then check out Carina Press because they take romance, all genres, science fiction, mystery, thrillers, horror, women fiction, anything as long as it is a REALLY GREAT STORY.
They say the books will not go into print, at the moment, but never say never. I think it's important to have a book in my hands to give to my friends and family and keep on my bookshelf, and I do hope they change their minds. Fast. But, needless to say, Carina Press has opened up another door to publication, and in this down market, that is a wonderful thing.
I want to wish them the very best of luck, and everyone who has submitted.
Let me hear from you.

Just received my first Holiday Card of the Season, well almost! It was actually a text message. I had been working late last evening and upon returning to my classroom--did I mention that in my other incarnation I’m a teacher--I noticed a missed call on my cell phone. Now, since I was working late, I figured it was my family looking for me. So I clicked on the message and opened the text. It was a picture of Santa with a tally whacker that looked 2 feet long protruding from beneath his black Santa’s belt!

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not a prude! We all receive and re-send those naughty little fwd, fwd, fwds once in a while. But remember, I said I’m a teacher? Well I checked to see who had gifted me with my first Holiday Card of the season and it was a parent of one of my students! OH NO!

Beginning to realize my dilemma? Yes, you’ve got it! Had my student sent me an inappropriate email? Immediately I went into CYOA mode and headed to the front office! No way was I going to allow anyone to accuse me of inappropriate contact with a student.

I showed my administrator the inappropriate email, which by the way, would have been just a funny little ditty to be laughed at and deleted under usually circumstances. However, it posed a real problem coming to me from what could have been a student.

We agreed I’d have to call the parent and tell them about the text message, which turned out to be one of those chain-letter online/text snowball fights, except this one was called Holiday Boner War and I’d been bonered!

Putting the phone on speaker, in the administrator’s office, I called the parent and told them of the text. The response went something like this: OMG! He had my phone last night! I’m so sorry, I will take care of this when I get home! I’m gonna kill him!

Now the moral to my story: Technology in the wrong hands is dangerous! When you receive that cute little fwd, fwd, fwd, before you hit send to all, be sure your child's teacher's phone number isn't in your phone address book! The text message had been forwarded to my phone during the hour when this student was sitting in my class working! No way, did he send it! It was one of those little high tech glitches--someone forgot forward all really does mean ALL!

Now, have you had any such encounters of the e-mail kind that could be embarrassing or even damaging to your career? Share with us points to avoid such mistakes, please.

Good morning readers and writers!
Last Saturday I was fortunate enough to take in Mary Buckham's pacing workshop with the FRW group, and if you haven't seen Mary or taken one one her workshops, you are missing something big. She is the best. It was an all day event, and Mary was kind enough to give us all her latest book, BREAK INTO FICTION. (11 steps to building a story that sells) It has all kinds of wonderful information, like characters, conflict, powerful openings and so much more.
Powerful openings - now that was the mornings agenda. Mary showed us the importance of hooking your reader, editor, right from the get-go. We all know the power of the opening sentence but the first paragraph must be a grabber, and the last sentence of the third page because that is where most editors stop reading! Of course every chapter must end with a hook, and start with another grabber. And we so thought this would be easy, right!
If we all want to sell like James Patterson, we could learn from him too. Shorter sentences, shorter chapters, very little description and narrative. Writers like Hemmingway might never break into fiction in today's market! Learn from the modern masters if you are a commercial writer. Every scene should have conflict and raise a question. Once that question is answered, it's imperative that you raise another, until at the end all questions should be happily resolved.
More on the BREAK INTO FICTION book. This can be used as a tool while first stage plotting or during the editing process. I am just finishing up on a book now and will use it as I go through my final draft.
After more than a decade of writing, it's amazing how much I still have to learn.
Enjoy your day and hope to hear from you!

In Icy Snow Blackstone's Bargain with Lucifer, Luc Deveraux needs a wife to gain a five million dollar Trust. Julie Richmond needs a husband to keep herself and her young daughter from poverty. When the two met accidentally in a Houston 7-Eleven, Luc thinks he's found the answer to both their problems. At first, Julie turns down his suggestion, but later, in his hotel suite, she becomes more receptive to the idea:

“It’s a pretty complicated story.” Luc began. “I’m going to skip all the background stuff, I can tell you that later.”Briefly, he looked away, as if trying to gather his thoughts. He gave her a sheepish smile. “You know, this is more difficult than I thought. I’m not certain where to begin!”

“I'd suggest the beginning, but something tells me that isn’t the right spot.”

Non.” He hesitated a moment longer, then took a deep breath. “My brother, Michel, and I were born in Paris. We lived there until my father was killed in a racing accident.”

“Racing. Horses?”

“Automobiles. His car was struck by another one and hit a wall. He was burned to death.”

“That must have been awful for you!” Julie’s hand went over his. Once again, she quickly removed it.

He nodded slightly. “My gran'pere, Jean-Luc Deveraux, brought us to live at San Souci, his plantation in Louisiana." Luc's voice got very soft. "Three months later, my mother died. Gran’pere raised us.”

He couldn’t sit still and tell it, got up and began to pace beside the table while Julie continued to watch him.

Gran’pere spoiled me, I admit it. Let me have everything and anything I wanted. At the same time, he was totally strict with my brother. As a result, there's always been rivalite between Michel and me. When I was twenty-four, I left San Souci but Gran’pere insisted Michel stay behind and help run the plantation.” He paused to look down at her. She’d picked up the sandwich and was nibbling on it abstractedly while he talked. “Then, I got this letter. A little belatedly, Gran’pere decided to let me know the contents of my father’s will. Papa, it seems, didn’t want me to commit the same sins he had. He established a Trust for me. I’m to get it on my thirtieth birthday, which is ten months from now.”

Julie set down the sandwich and reached for the glass of milk.

“He wrote me that there's a stipulation on the Trust. If I’m not married, settled down, and starting a family by that time, I can kiss the whole thing goodbye! It'll all revert to Michel. No way am I going to let mon petit frere get his hands on my money! So I told him--” He stopped and had the grace to looked ashamed.

“Oh no!” Julie set down the glass, looking up at him in disbelief. “You didn’t!” She didn’t wait for the affirming nod of the bronze head. “You did! You told him you were married!”

Oui, and a year later, that we had a baby. I must have been insane.” He pulled out the chair and sat down. “Now, he wants me--all of us--to come home.”

“And you’re up the proverbial creek without a paddle.” She began to laugh. “Oh, that is good!”

“I’m glad you find this so amusant.”

“It is.” She brushed one hand over her mouth, stifling the smile that was forming. “So you want me to pretend to be your wife so you can get your money?”



“I want you to marry me, Mrs. Richmond. It has to be legal. There mustn’t be any question, any way I can lose that money.”

Marry him? The smile faded from Julie’s face. I don't know about that.

"It won't be forever." Seeing the doubt on her face, Luc went on, “Just until I get the Trust. A few months later, we'll get a quiet divorce. I’ll give you a settlement that’ll keep you comfortably, and I’ll set up an account for your daughter.”

He knew by her change of expression that he’d struck the center of the target, her most vulnerable spot. Merry. The little girl had gotten to him. Luc had no desire for fatherhood and didn’t really like kids but he wanted Merry to be secure, didn’t want her mother ever to be placed in this kind of predicament again.

“How much money are we talking about?” Julie picked up the glass of milk.

“Five million dollars.”

He tried to dodge the spray of milk as Julie choked, and began to cough.

“F-five mil--oh!” She cleared her throat, and subsided into a couple of hiccoughs as Luc pulled out his handkerchief, and began to mop the drops of milk spattering the tabletop.

“I-I’m sorry,” Julie said. “It’s just that--well, it startled me a little. My God, I can’t even imagine that much money!”

There was a splash of milk on his sleeve, soaking into the dark navy wool. Luc pressed the handkerchief against the stain. “Will you help me, Mrs. Richmond?” He didn’t look at her as he said it, didn’t want to appear to be begging.

“Do I have a choice?

“But, of course." Refolding the handkerchief, he returned it to his breast pocket. “Le Bon Dieu gave us all free will. You can say non.”

“I think some of us have a lot more free will than others,” came the rueful answer, “and it begins with a dollar sign.”

“Well?Do we have a deal?” He held out his hand.

“I guess we do.” She placed her own within it.

Briefly, they sat there, smiling at each other, Luke holding her hand, shaking it slowly.

“Tell me, were you named for your grandfather? For Jean-Luc?”




Well--” She was waiting for an explanation.

“My father had an ironic sense of humor, Julie. He named me and my brother after les archanges.”

“Archangels? Michel--that’d be Michael, and-- Who?” For a moment, she stared at him, the blue eyes widening as she understood. “Oh, God, you mean--”

Oui," Luc nodded. “My real name's Lucifer.”

Julie swallowed loudly and looked down at the hand still tightly holding hers.

“Does this mean I’ve just made a deal with the devil?”

“I’m afraid it does,” Luc answered.

(Bargain with Lucifer is available at Class Act Books; the sequel Brother Devil is scheduled for a May, 2010 release.)

Friends who understand. Mona Risk, Linda Nightingale, Jianne Carlo, and Mama Mary

Have you given up your life as an individual to take care of your family? We can become so tied to our jobs and our families we forget to have our o
wn lives. Mothers do this more than most people do. Those of us with dreams and passions beyond those others understand have to fight harder. Families want out attention and many of us just give it instead or arguing. Moms feel we must do everything.

When I taught school I had no time for writing or friends who didn't teach at my school or know my husband through photography. As a woman born in the early 1940's, I b
elieved being a good wife mean giving up anything that didn't help my husband, and make me a good daughter, a great mama, and a good teacher.

Mama was the perfect example of the woman I wanted to be. She put us first in every way. She'd do anything we needed, including making sure Daddy went after his dreams and made them her own. I never heard her complain during the years she moved away from her family so Daddy could go to college with three children to support. She was a housewife and proud of it, until daddy needed for her to go to work and support us. She continued to work and became important in her own right. People all over the country, especially the "Baptist South", went to her for help. Though she became an expert, she still let her husband be the important one.

I graduated from college and married in time to escape the "free love" and "do your own thing" period. (Actually, my personality wouldn't have allowed me those freedoms.)

I have no complaints about helping my husband,now my EX, build his Photography business, but I regret that I didn't allow myself to branch out and make more friends. I don't know when I would have done that while taking care of my daughte
r, my parents, and my job. Many days I wondered if I did a good job in any of those areas. I didn't take time to meet other teachers or neighbors for lunch or even read books. There just wasn't money to spend for fun. Things were the way they were because I didn't know I should have taken time for more.

Once I stopped teaching I gave in to my secret passion, writing. I'd been a storyteller all my life, the time had come for me to write stories. There were stories I'd made up for my daughter and family stories I wanted to tell but other stories and characters pushed their way into my mind and took hold.

A stroke of luck sent me to Georgia Romance Writers and Romance Writers of America and friends who wrote stories. I made new friends who understood the characters who interrupted my dreams and entertained me while I drove alone. Some are still my best friends.

Scarlet Pmpernickel and Pamela Varnado

Discovering com
puters led me to the Internet where I found more friends. Now my friends are people who are here for me when I feel like the world isn't working. I've belonged to several critique groups and have made lasting friends though them. When I need a shoulder to cry on because of a rejection or a personal setback, I go to my friends online and my critique partners. When I need someone to celebrate finishing a book with me or just feeling good, I call my critique partners. Writing even helped me connect with a high school and college friend.

One other friend became my first reader and my friend when I told her I wrote novels at least fifteen years ago.

Hey, Linda and Toni!

One I met at a writers' conference in 1991 and she's still my buddy and one of our bloggers. Two other blogger sisters met me through GRW and they are among my favorite people.

Recently I made my way to three class reunions, one for my high school class and two for students I taught. My former students acted as though calling me Mary and hugging me was special. Yep. My kids are now my friends and I love it.

If you don't think you have time to make and keep friends, re-think that. My friends, even those I made online, helped me get though the deaths of my parents and my divorce. We meet people an we can walk away from them of friend them. A simple hello to a stranger might be the beginning of a lasting friendship.

If you put off your secret passions or delay going after your dream, you might miss it completely. There is no better time than now.

I celebrate everyday with help from my friends, some of whom I could have missed by not being open when I met them.

Tell us about someone you're glad you met and now have as a friend.

Edit your Manuscript

Posted by Mona Risk | 10:27 PM | 17 comments »

Someone said that creating a good book is ten percent writing and ninety-percent editing. Although I don’t believe that statistics, I certainly spend a lot of time polishing my manuscripts before daring to send them to an editor.

For me, editing starts while I am writing.
As soon as I type my first chapter, I read it again and again,
first to check that the story flows well, then for typos,
spelling and grammar and finally to make sure that the hook is grabbing enough.

Attending three workshops with Mary Buckham has taught me the necessity of making the first line, first paragraph and first page intriguing enough to catch a reader’s—or editor’s—interest. As a result, I keep revising that first line and first paragraph while I continue to write my story. By the time the book is finished, I have without exaggeration, at least twenty versions of first paragraphs, all saved. I compare them, send them to my critique partners, and sometimes combine some of them, until I am really satisfied with my hook.

After writing my first book and revising it for ever, three years, I became convinced that an outline would save months of revision. Now before I start a new story, I write an outline for the first three chapters, a summary of the back story, a few lines about the hero, heroine’s and villain’s characters and one paragraph to summarize the storyline. Only then, do I allow myself to write the first three chapters.

By the time my partial is polished, I know my characters and I have a pretty good idea of where the plot is going. I prepare a complete outline for the book and write my story without interruption for days and weeks.

To edit the whole book, I tabulate the chapters and scenes as follows.
I will give you an example of my spreadsheet.

1-Chapter One
2-Scene 1.1 Pages: 5 pages
3-Word count: 900 words

4-Setting: avoid having several scenes in the same setting. It’s boring.
5- POV: Heroine’s or hero’s. If you have a long book you can add, the villain’s POV.
6-Hook: copy here the first line of the scene.

7-GMC: what is the goal in that scene, what is the conflict?
8-Emotional development: show how the attraction increases. You should see a definite increase from scene to scene.
9-Action: it’s important to show some stage direction.

10-Sensual Tension: any eye contact, hand touching, kiss,… Like the emotional development, the sexual tension should increase from chapter to chapter.
11- Sensorial : smell, sounds and color in the scene. It helps the reader be grounded in the scene.
12- End hook: copy the last sentence of the scene. Make sure it generates suspense, a question to be answered in the next scene or some emotion that keeps the reader panting.
13- Pace: how do you evaluate the pace in this scene, fast, medium slow? It should be fast if you have action or dialogue, and slow to emphasize emotion.

This spreadsheet may look like a lot of work. Believe me, it’s not, if you prepare it while
reading your manuscript. Once done, it will help you see at a glance what is missing and what needs improvement.

In addition to self-editing, I can’t stress enough the importance of sharing your work with a few critique partners you trust to be honest with you. You don’t need flattering but you don’t
need someone destroying your confidence. It takes years to find the right critique partners.
They will become your best friends.

You manuscript is ready to go. You need one last reading. I suggest you save the file in Adobe, click on VIEW, and then READ OUT LOUD. It’s an amazing feature I discovered a few years ago. The computer will read your story while you look at the pages on the monitor screen and note on a paper the repetitions, missing words, lack of transition. I prefer this method to printing and reading on paper. But you need one these two methods of final reading to catch the mistakes your eyes have stopped seeing on the screen.

Good luck with your next story.

Mona Risk writes romantic suspense for Cerridwen Press, TO LOVE A HERO and
FRENCH PERIL and medical romances for The Wild Rose Press, in BABIES IN THE BARGAIN and Rx FOR TRUST.
All her books are available at Amazon.com


Joanne--Deal of the Day

Posted by Josie | 9:16 AM | 4 comments »

Hi Ladies,
Hurry to Kodakgallery.com and sign up using your email address. You should receive a code for $15.00 off a product. I used the code to make a beautiful mug for my mother and only had to pay the shipping cost of $5.99.

For the man in your life, Overstock.com has a great deal today on an Izod black leather bomber jacket for $99.00. Shipping is $1.00.

I have mentioned Swagbucks and Mypoints before. If you are not a member of either, it's not too late. Searching through Swagbucks, you will "win" points every day, that you eventually cash in for Amazon gift cards, etc.

Purchasing through Mypoints (the retail stores are numerous, such as 1800contacts), you will also be awarded points for gift cards for Walmart, Target, Starbucks, etc.

Although it's the last day of the grocery shopping week, those living near a Harris Teeter should take advantage of their TRIPLE coupons, an amazing way to save money on groceries.

For this month--Happy Shopping!


Favorite quote: "I can't afford to save any more money."

Joanne--Deal of the Day

Posted by Josie | 12:47 PM | 8 comments »

Hi everyone,
I'm back to tell you about more Deals today, borrowed from another forum.

Check out Amazon.com. They are offering a great deal on Cooking Light magazine. Normally the subscription is $49.50 for the year, and Amazon is offering it this week for only $5.00. Also, Good Housekeeping magazine is on special for $4.97.

Meritline.com is offering a memory card reader for $1.75.
This is the description: USB Portable Memory Card Reader for Secure Digital, SDHC, MicroSD, and Memory Stick media.

Coupon code MLC400576110960N gives $2.25 off the cart for a total of $1.75. This includes shipping.

If you received a flyer in the mail on Saturday from Sears, check out the upper L.H. corner. There is a coupon for a free box of Hershey Pot of Gold chocolates to redeem this Sunday at Sears, no purchase necessary.

Happy shopping!

Favorite quote: "I can't afford to save any more money."

Joanne--Deal of the Day

Posted by Josie | 9:21 AM | 9 comments »

Hi Ladies,
I have some great deals for today:

Bath and Body Works: Buy 3 get 3 free of their Signature Body care. Promotion code for $10.00 off of $30.00 is TENTHIRTY. Shipping is $5.95. Great deal for 6 items/gifts.

Turkeys! Head out to Walmart for the best deal in town--turkeys are $.40 a pound.

Check out Shutterfly for three personalized 5x7 cards. Code is 3FREECARDS. If you ship all three to your home, the total is $.99.

Happy Shopping!

Favorite Quote: "I can't afford to save any more money."

If you’re here, either you have children, or you don’t, but you’re hoping to garner some super time saving or organizational tips which will help find you the elusive precious moments to write. Working outside of the home fulltime and with four kids, the Kool-Aid house and four completed novels in five years, I’ve perfected a few balancing acts.

First, and I think this is probably the most important factor, is your mindset. Don’t set yourself up for defeat before your start. You must realize that you neither need or do not write a novel overnight, but you can complete a novel in bits of time. Many advise getting up before family and write. But if you’re not a morning person try scribbling a paragraph, maybe dealing with the internal conflict— not a page, a paragraph. Jot down banter between two of your characters the conflict created while on coffee break, lunch or while waiting for an appointment. Edit what you wrote while watching TV with the family. Before you head to bed, write another paragraph. The perfect place for me is in the shower. I talk it out and as soon as I towel off, I scribble. If you only do this much, you will have a page every day and in year you’ll have a 75K book. Hint: 1 year in the publishing world is like a week in our time. So don’t fret.

Never, and I mean NEVER, handle correspondence twice. This goes for personal bills, magazines newspapers, and email. Don’t save it for later. Later never comes. If you open it, deal with it, file it or trash it. This is my philosophy at work too. Write your checks out or pay paid bills on-line while eating lunch at your desk. It will be one-less chore for you to do at home.

Understand a sterile Goodhouse Keeping home will not be yours for many years to come. With somewhere to go nearly every day, I knew right away if I wanted a home that would not be quarantined I needed to break the chore down to manageable bites. A room a day became my rule. Also, as my children became older, they learned to pick up toys their before bedtime, and then later to take care of their rooms, including dusting, vacuuming and straitening their closets. Twice a year, mom entered the domain for some serious sterilization. My kids were happy and healthy. When my boys went college they showed their friends how to do laundry.

I wanted more time but I also my family to eat well, so my crock pot and oven became my best friends. Take an hour or two and surf the net for recipes your family will enjoy. Plan a week’s worth of meals ahead of time. The one question I hate more than any other is “What’s for dinner?” For some reason as soon as I hear it, I feel my drive slip away. My energy level stays up, if I walk in the door and serve up dinner and more on. I plan for a month. And except for milk, bread and fresh veggie’s and fruit, I shop once a month. I’d rather clean a bathroom than grocery shop so handling this chore this why works for me. I cut this time eater by 75%. Instead of an hour and half each week. I spend 3 hours in a month. That includes time to stash the stuff.

Volunteers are important to non-profit organizations, such as the PTO, Scouts, church and you can volunteer, but set limits. I’m a social butterfly and love to raise my hand, but I’ve learned to raise my hand and say I can only work from this time to this time or I can only help on blank night. Believe me people will still appreciate you.

Hang a calendar on the fridge. Jot down appointments and events there. It’s in your face every day. It will help you shift your schedule because of a special event. Ie: I don’t have time to clean living room this morning/night because I need to be at school early/night to work fundraiser, but I do have time to clean bathroom. Carry a pocket calendar with you at all times. Even to weddings. Remember you want to handle things once. If friends want to get together, you look on the calendar see Susie has a fundraiser you volunteered for and you can’t do noon, but you can do 2 pm. Done. Pencil in. Do not say, "I’ll call you later." Later will take up time, at home, you don’t have.

The first thing that I put on my calendar is anything writer related. Meeting dates, blogs, on-line class. Then I fill in family events. Sometimes I have a conflict, but seeing it ahead of time allows me to shift obligations around if needed. Important; If at all possible, keep your allocation of time to be with other writers. Who better understand your creativity and needs?

Okay does anyone else have any ideas, which have worked for them, to scratch out writing time? I’d love a few more minutes.

Those commenting will be entered into drawing for a 2010 pocket calendar.

Through the Fire
Beth Trissel
The Wild Rose Press


Rebecca Elliot, recently widowed, is on her way with her younger sister, Kate, to relatives staying in a remote fort. As their party travels at slow pace through thick forest, they find themselves viciously attacked. Rebecca barely manages to fight off one savage when she finds herself taken captive by another. In the melee, she loses sight of Kate.

Rebecca finds herself a prisoner of Shoka, a half-Shawnee warrior who fortunately speaks English. Despite his efforts to make her comfortable in his company, she keeps trying to escape. As they travel on, thrown together to survive in the wilderness, they begin to care for each other. Aware of their growing feelings, they’re unable to deny the truth to themselves – and to others. Yet dangers lurk from both native and white men, threatening their new-found love, and their lives. Only following a mysterious white wolf helps them escape the worst dangers. On their march towards the fort, they are forced to defend and fight for each other.

During their journey, Rebecca is re-united with her sister. But how much time will they have together, now that Kate has eyes only for a dashing Frenchman? And with a massacre unavoidable, their lives are once more in peril. Barely escaped with their lives, Rebecca has to confront her past to create her future. But does her future include Shoka?

Ms Trissel spins a very fine yarn with Through the Fire. Her vivid imagery takes you right back into the action. The colours, scents and views tickle the senses. The deep description of scenery and historical setting gave me just the right idea of what Rebecca went through, both physically and emotionally. Ms Trissel knows how to tell a wonderful tale.

A beautifully written love story, with enough dangers lurking to keep us on our toes. Perfect reading material.

5 out of 5 stars

By Steph Patterson

Pep up the Holidays with this Soup

Posted by Toni V.S. | 12:28 PM | 8 comments »

Once, so long ago that the memory is now almost lost in the mists of Time, I was a good cook. I cook for my son, I cooked for my poodles, I cooked for my SO. I even won prizes for my recipes. Slaving over a hot stove was an acceptable event for those delicious Southern meals. Now? It's instant this and instant that, and the microwave. Meals in 5 minutes. Oh, well...

Today, however, I'm digging into my musty ol' recipe book and sharing a little gem which won me an award in the Beta Sigma Phi Annual Cookbook competition back in 1999...or was it 1997? No matter. Here, Ladies, is my famous Red Pepper Soup. It's perfect for the holidays, because of its bright color, as well as its zippy taste.

4 medium red Bell Peppers
1 medium yellow Bell pepper
2 small red Serrano peppers (other mild hot pepper such as Hungarian can be substituted)
3 gloves garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
1 14.5 oz can chicken broth
1/2 C whipped cream (optional)
Fresh basil leaves (optional)
Salt/pepper to taste

Remove seeds, stems, and membranes from peppers. Chop into squares. Slice garlic. Boil all until tender. Run through blender until pureed. Pour into large saucepan and add salt and pepper to taste and olive oil. Add chicken broth, stir until well-blended. Cook until heated throughout and ladle into soup bowls. May be garnished with a fresh basil leaf and a dollop of whipped cream (optional).

This makes 4 servings. 195 calories per serving.

Brighten your skin.

With winter upon us, many of us are experiencing dry patches on our skin. Several things contribute to this condition and some steps which you can take to combat this condition would include:

1. Drink more water. Most of us are not getting drinking enough water daily and that can cause dry and dull skin.

2. Exfoliate twice weekly. The skin which is exposed on us is already dead skin, just waiting to come off. As time goes on, more skin cells are added up underneath the top dead skin cells and the top layer is dry, and no longer oblong in shape, If that skin stays on, the top layers become flatter and thinner. This creates dull, lifeless looking skin. Exfoliation removes the dull, dry cells on top of our skin and lets the rosy, fresher newer cells come to the top to start the process all over again.

3. Use sunscreen daily. Most people do not realize that over 90% of the UV light emitted from our sun is UVA rays. For years we have all been told about the tanning rays and burning, SPF factors. UVA rays will initially give you a little red color and then disappear. You don't tan or burn from UVA rays, yet they are the worst. UVA ages us, and it is just as strong in the winter as in the summer. UVA rays come through windows, so being indoors won't stop the damage. UVA are the long distance rays that travel all the way down into the dermis, causing damage.

If you don't hydrate and moisturize your skin, it won't glow with youth. Use a gentle scrub to send dry skin away but remember, your skin is delicate so don't scrub it like you would you kitchen floor.
Use light foundations over moisturizers and creme blushes for a natural look.

Now read the post below if you haven't. It's a hoot!

When I last left the story I was wondering if air in the IV line would kill me. Well it won't, it has to be a very large amount of air. Little bubbles and air won't hurt you. Now the picture is my husband taking pictures. Yes I know you all are thinking, WHAT? Is she crazy? No just sick, as you can see I am reaching for the bucket. I thought about the frying pan again, but he was behaving so well. The man who never did a thing without cajoling, was worried and scared for me. He washed my back, my hair and gave me the bed bath the nurses never give anymore. I was shocked as he sat rubbing my head and I did my best not to smack him, because he meant well. Far be it from me to discourage him being there for me. Because I was so sick, it touched me.
But the camera, I wanted to hurt him. With some kind of stick or something.
I made the mistake of sending this picture to my cousin, who promptly put my head in a video that was annoying. I'll get her back some other time.
Anyways back to the hospital.
Finally after giving me other stuff that did nothing they gave me Compazine and some strong pain killer, morphine I think. It took away some of the pain and nausea. I was so grateful for the relief of feeling so bad. I slept for three days, not eating and only getting up to go to the bathroom. Dragging those IV things is a PIA. They only had to change my IV site once, but my veins were all hiding and it was a painful and long process which left me with golf ball sized lumps all over my arms. Finally they found one and it was back to sleep.
Now mind you Chris is back at the cabin. No TV, no computer, nothing. I think he learned to appreciate me on a new level this trip. He needs me. He can't make it without me. Hmmmmmm... There was a time that would thrill me, now I wanna puke even more. The man cannot take care of himself. But he is good when he has to be. So it's a toss up. Yes, he loves me too. He tells me so. No no flowers, but my dishwasher has been repaired oodles of times. And he does things in his own way.
They kept waking me up to give me medication and they were so nice. This brand new hospital had 23 beds of which two were now taken. Me and some poor old guy who screamed his head off all day and nite, I had to close my door he yelled so bad. Turns out he had what I had and was as most men are a whusses with pain. I wanted to scream but the worst I did was pant, rock and moan quietly. In hindsight I should have yelled. All the nurse said to me was to stop hyperventilating, him they helped just to shut him up. Hmmmmm...
Chris visited too much, yes that's what I said, too much. He was bored, hence the camera. He also had some need to keep a record of my sickness. I have no clue why. His smile for the picture comments made me more ill. I just wanted to sleep.
There were two very nice nurses who rolled me outside to see my love muffin doggie, Junior. He was so glad to see me, lots of dog kisses and hugs...
It seemed like forever and one day rolled into the next so that I didn't know the time or date sometimes. I didn't care either. They would bring me trays of chemical tasting jello, broth that tased like dishwater and a small can of sprite. Yuk! Never touched the stuff. Even today I am still on a very bland diet. Slowly I felt better, enough to leave and see my regular doctor. Looking forward to that, he never even remembers my name. I feel so safe with my MD, NOT. He is so darn busy he couldn't remember all of the patients he has. Some 3,000 he says. I have to tell him the same stuff every time I see him.
So time to go home! Or at least back to the cabin. The weather was still cold, which I normally relish. But being sick and weak I was extra cold and when we got to the cabin the electricity was out. Ouch! Cold and dark, thank God for the fire.
What else could go wrong. I never should have uttered those words.
I slept some more and watched the leaves as their beautiful myriad colors changed the landscape into a mystical place that I find the peace I always look for in. The reason I go to NC is because it's so wonderful. In the town of Bryson City you step back into the past. My favorite thing, loving time travel, is the past. It's so quiet and I am reminded of the beautiful pictures that my friend Beth Trissel posts of her home. There is just something so special about the mountains. There the past weaves tales that writers share with us. The future weaves itself.
While I was in the hospital and people called I was too tired to answer. Now my cell phone is not getting any reception!!! NOoooooo! My last link with family and friends is useless, unless we go to town. I knew I shouldn't have said those words. Was that it? Were my three touches with bad luck over. I'm not gonna go back and count just in case.
So tomorrow I go to the doctors to try and figure out what's wrong with me. Although I feel a lot better now.


Where I spent the rest of my vacation.

Yes I wanted to go walk in the woods and commune with nature, yes I wanted to see the sights in Cherokee and go to the shops, buy some fudge, take a picture with an Indian Chief. You know with one of the guys who looks like the real thing but when he talks he's from Brooklyn. But my time over and we had to go home till next year. So I am hoping for better luck on our next trip to North Carolina and the Great Smoky Mountains. Mystical as it looks, really!


The nurses were very nice they all said goodbye. They had a bunch of people sick with this bacterial virus. No one gave me a clue how I got it. But I want you all to know I have a new feeling of empathy for those who have stomach problems. The poor people on chemotheraphy, I just can't tell you how awful a hurting stomach and nausea can be. It's relentless. You can't think because you are too sick too. So I send this blog out to all of those of you who have ever had a stomach virus of any kind. God bless you and may it never happen again. Give my a buckeye, break out the crystals, whatever it takes. I never want to feel like that again, no way, ever!

Now lastly I would like to say this. It was about three days ago that my DH was walking through the house naked. Now he ain't bad for his age. I recalled him wiping my forehead with a damp cloth, washing my back and hair and something came over me. Suddenly! I kinda started to look at him like I did when we were twenty. Gosh he was hot. And then he walked up to me, turned and farted in my direction.

What the hell was I thinking.


My advise to all of you!


The Founding Colonies – New Hampshire

In case you’re new to this blog, I’m on a citizenship quest and I’m determined to know each state one by one. I’ve started with the Thirteen Founding Colonies, and I’m doing those in alphabetical order. After that I’m going to go through the 50 states as each one joined the constitution.

I visited New Hampshire once for a training course. While I have vague memories of pretty countryside on the way to and from Manchester and the airport, I didn’t manage to see more of the state other than that. The reason for the visit was a brutal training course on presentations. The day we arrived, the course began with a videotape of each participant doing a presentation on a topic given five minutes before the actual presentation began.

They replayed the video and everyone in the course had to give six positive and six negative comments on the presentation. Now bear in mind, I was the only woman in a roomful of around forty males.

The following day they trained us on body language, inflection, eye contact, you name an aspect, they covered it. That night they assigned us into random teams of two, gave us a topic, forty minutes, and then we had to present. Every step of the way someone was declared a winner.

The last day reverted to individual presentations with the prize being the number one spot and a chance for a paid week’s vacation in St. Croix.

Three months later, the DH and I vacationed in St. Croix. I have very fond associations with New Hampshire.

So below are the New Hampshire facts.

New Hampshire

Capital: Concord
Size: approximately 8,969 square miles with 13 miles of coastline
Size Rank: 45
Bird: Purple Finch
Admitted to Statehood: June 21, 1788, 9th Constitution
Population: 1,235,796
Presidents (birth): Franklin Pierce
Vice Presidents (birth): Henry Wilson

One name caught my eye in the list of famous New Hampshirites (cute) - Alan Shepard, the astronaut. Until I was twelve my driving ambition was to become an astronaut. I started studying astronomy, I wrote to twelve American Universities explained my ambition and requested information on programs and admission requirements. To my utter dismay, each reply contained a requirement I could not fulfill, you had to have been born in the United States.

Notwithstanding the devastating disappointment, I retain to this day a near-obsession with NASA and space. I have five people I consider my heroes, Neil Armstrong’s on that list, but Alan Shepard barely missed a spot. The first American in space, the fifth man to walk on the moon,

Shepard began his career in the Navy (Rear Admiral) and earned his wings in 1947. In 1959 he received an invitation (along with 109 others) to join the newly formed National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Just thinking about all the changes he saw and was part of over the following three decades boggles my mind. What I would have given to meet him, spend an hour (or fifteen - I am such a greedy-guts) interrogating him (nicely) on his experiences.

Can you imagine the courage it took back then to volunteer to be the second man to orbit the earth? To take a trip to the moon, not knowing if you’d ever return?

Hell - if I had the money I would buy one of Branson’s tickets to the moon and pray fervently the trip would happen in my lifetime.

Would you?



It all started out so wonderful. Ten days in North Carolina staying at a lovely cabin.
The views are amazing and it gives me peace, while renewing my spirit.
We started out staying a day with my elderly mom, it's always tough because she cannot get over losing my father and this time in addition we got some bad family news about my youngest brother.
Well we did the best we could to cheer my mom and headed up to Ela, North Carolina. The mountain cabin is located on the same mountain as my quarter acre of dreams. I intend to live there and spend my life with nature instead of noxious. But that's another story.
I see the mountains!!!!!
This kind of thrill comes over me and I start to feel like I am coming home.
My husband Chris and my dog Junior are both ready to have some fun. We got there, stopped at a grocery store, picked up what we needed for a few days and arrived at the cabin. It's a rustic place, old sleds, sickles, washboards and such decorate the walls. A big three D map hangs on the wall, one lone stick pin points out where we are. So first the wireless card we decided to get for a month was useless. No matter what Verizon says, it ain't gonna happen. I hope to get my money back.
We then realized that the owner had not turned on their dish for TV either! Oh my God, Chris freaked. And it was freezing, I mean 37 degrees. So Chris tried to start a fire using paper towels he found left in the wood burning stove. He of course forgot to open the damper. The guy in the next house over heard me yelling at him and came over with some firesticks and helped to clear the smoke. I decided not to hit Chris with the frying pan.
The only thing that would save us from complete boredom with no internet, was that we could watch rental movies on his laptop. Bad thing is Ingles doesn't have any good tapes to rent. So we ate, did what we usually do and got into bed. We were exhausted, and me in bed at 9:30pm. Not normal for me for sure. But I was exhausted and seven hours in a car with Chris. Well let's just say, people who know us both had sympathy for me already. He is a jokester, I will show you what I mean later on.
At about 4:00am I woke up feeling really weird. Like I couldn't breathe. Then I started to get nauseous, more and more as time progressed. Ding, ding, ding, that's the warning I got before my whole stomach area started to hurt, I mean really hurt. So I'm puking and groaning and it's getting really bad, so bad that by the time Chris got up, I wasn't sure I could make it to the ER,
Now if this tells you anything, the guy slept next to me while all this was happening. Junior was there licking my face, while bonzo snored away. Truthfully I could have woken him, but...
So when he realizes how sick I am he starts dancin' around. You know like, holy shit, what do I do, dancing around. I really was scaring him, I musta looked bad, he don't scare easy. No shower, no clothes and still in my night gown, luckily I remembered shoes, he rushed me into the car and to the emergency room at the hotel Bryson City, NC.
It was a new hospital, I got lucky, coulda been the Bates Motel with my luck.
So Chris helps me into the place and they had me a kidney basin so that while I am walking and puking I wouldn't mess up those clean floors. Hey I thought, what is wrong with these people, where's the wheelchair, I'm puking lady, I have no clue where my ID card is!
Chris does his best, but he had no clue what medication I take, let alone when I last had a pap smear. He was starting to get green with some of the questions.
Meanwhile I feel so bad I could scream. I never realized a stomach could hurt so bad and that throwing up made it worse. I was moaning as I panted to stand the pain. Nurse Kratchet say's, "stop hyperventilating, you'll pass out." Now she tells me. I slump and Chris catches me, Wow, I didn't know he had it in him!
Medicines, aahhh, I hand my weekly pill container to the nurse, take that I think, you figure it
Hours go by and the stomach is not better, they try Phenergan and some other thing and it's USELESS. Then the compazine, ah a tad better, at least I know I will not scream. Then the IV ouchhhhh! I always have good veins and here they took a half hour to find one. My arms looked like I have a serious drug problem. But they get one into vein. Pain medication flows into the tubing, thank God for pain medication. My pain lowers by 40%, still there, but I can lie down for a few minutes and not have to throw up. This is the weirdest stomachache I have ever had. Damn.
Hey, look at the air and bubbles in my IV, I remember thinking before I closed my eyes to rest, is that good? I really didn't care, but hey, I thought that could kill you...